Head coach Kim McNeill has now added five new recruits to East Carolina University women's basketball for the 2019-2020 season. This is relevant to the team, because she has added several players that will each improve the trouble areas of last season's team, and increase the skill level of how they play.
According to ESPN, the 2018-2019 women's basketball team was ranked No.7 in the American Athletic Conference, out of the 12 total teams.
ECU made the AAC tournament, and defeated Southern Methodist University in the first round, 50-48. The Pirates ended up being defeated by the University of Connecticut in the following round, 92-65.
One of the biggest strengths of the Pirates is steals, and they led the AAC last season with 340 total and a No.1 ranking in the conference.
Three-point shooting, defending against three-point shots, and turnover ratio is what ECU has to work on improving for the coming season.
According to the AAC statistics page, ECU was ranked No.12 out of 12 teams in 3-point shooting last season. The Pirates were also ranked No. 11 in three-point defence and had the highest turnover ratio in the conference.
The addition of Taniyah Thompson will help improve the team’s overall three point ranking.
“Taniyah is a scorer,” McNeill said.
Thompson comes from Hamden High School, where she led her team to the first championship win in school history, where she won the Southern Connecticut Conference Championship MVP award.
“She can score at all three levels. She has an unbelievable midrange game. A very, very good athlete and she’s a gym rat.” McNeill said.
Thompson left Hamden as the school’s all-time leading scorer and also was a McDonald’s All-American Nominee. The guard has the promise to vastly increase ECU’s shooting, especially with her midrange prowess that can also be improved into three-point shooting as well.
Katerina Tsineke is another recruit that can help improve the Pirate’s shooting from midrange and from three. Coming from Greece, Tsineke has experience in international play, and has valuable experience that can benefit the team.
In a press release, Coach McNeill talked about how Tsineke is going to be a huge asset for the Pirates.
“She can shoot the ball at a very high percentage and has a very high basketball IQ. Having that maturity and experience from playing international basketball will help her bring leadership characteristics to our team.” McNeill said.
Senior point guard Alex Frazier, senior forward Desiree Corbin, and Senior forward Salita Greene and senior forward Destiny Campbell all graduated last season, leaving some leadership holes open to be filled.
Returning guards senior Justice Gee, junior Lashonda Monk, and senior Raven Johnson will provide some much needed leadership, but Tsineke’s experience will benefit the Pirates immensely.
Coach McNeill has added some valuable assets to the ECU women’s team that will only improve the team. Hopefully seeing the talented draft class so far will cause other players to commit to ECU in the coming days.